Trump, who less than two months earlier had described a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, as an event that included “very fine people, on both sides” has continued to make racially divisive statements. In recent days, he has made references to shooting and death on his Twitter feed aimed at those protesting the mistreatment of African-Americans by law enforcement officers following the disturbing video of Floyd’s killing.
On Tuesday, Saints coach Sean Payton advocated for the prospect of replacing Trump by electing Democratic challenger Joe Biden in November. Payton tweeted photos of Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, an African-American who in February was chased and shot dead while jogging in an upscale Georgia neighborhood, writing, “Were Murdered not Killed on Video. How many have we not seen? 22 weeks from today for change.”
Jordan, too, regards the upcoming election as an important vehicle for provoking change. While attending rallies at Duncan Plaza the past two days, he has had numerous discussions with fellow protesters, many of whom recognized him despite the fact that he was wearing a hoodie and two masks (part of the CDC-endorsed protocol for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic).
“It’s been so empowering,” Jordan said. “The numbers have doubled each day, or maybe even tripled, and today the crowd was maybe 60 percent white, which is uplifting.
“I’m pushing narratives of, ‘Let’s vote.’ If we can find a way to create a system of change, and we need to do that by electing the right people at all levels of government. I clearly don’t believe in this president — I call him, ‘Impeached 45,’ because he was impeached, but just not removed — and I fully believe that every vote counts.
“This rally is designed to try to bring an end to police brutality as a whole and to try to trigger reforms. They’ve done some good work already in Minneapolis (where Floyd was killed), but we need more than just Minneapolis. I’m trying to get people to register to vote, and to follow through. Because by not voting, you’re doing everybody who fought for the right to vote a disservice.”
Jordan, who played through a painful core muscle injury for the final five games of the 2019 season and underwent surgery two days after the Super Bowl, said he is nearly recovered from the injury.
“Rehab’s almost finished,” he said. “I’m about 95 percent, damn near clear. My family’s healthy. God is good. I’m happy.”
Yet in the wake of Floyd’s killing and the ensuing unrest, Jordan said, he and his wife, Nikki, have been unnerved while pondering the notion of how best to parent their 4-year-old son, Caleb, through the crisis.
“My son is 4, and as much as my wife and I have openly talked about these issues, he’s going to have to know these things,” Jordan said. “I talked to a (white) coach who also has young kids, and he said, ‘We don’t even throw on CNN; we’re just keeping it all Disney so the kids don’t have to watch.’
“I don’t have that luxury. Our son barely understands the color barrier as it is, and in an ideal world, he shouldn’t have to. But we’re going to have to have the same type of conversations with him that I had with my mom beginning when I was 6 or 7.
“As black people in America, we have to go over things that others might not think about, things that still resonate: What do you do when you get pulled over? Make sure you completely turn off your music, and have your license with you at all times, not just when you drive. If you shop, always have a receipt with you. Things like that.”
It was precisely this perspective that Jordan said he tried to share with Brees on their phone call Wednesday. And while he’s not sure that fences were mended completely, Jordan believed the conversation was valuable and necessary.
“Things have to be talked about,” Jordan said. “If I’m not my brother’s keeper, I’m doing a disservice to him and to our teammates.”